What happens when you have a business that acts as both a business with a fantastic service and an online presence with the benefits of an influencer? Keep reading to learn more about this incredible combination with our guest Eliav Cohen, owner of Seattle Ballooning.
Who is Eliav Cohen?
Eliav Cohen loves ballooning because he gets to help someone cross something big off their bucket list. It’s an excellent way for him to connect with other CEOs and people. Initially, he took people on hot air balloon rides to connect with them for his other companies’ benefits, which eventually led to his wife suggesting, “Why don’t you start a hot air balloon company?”
The idea stuck and Eliav launched Seattle Ballooning.
“Let’s do it in the most epic place we can.”
Upon starting his hot air balloon business, he asked, “How can I combine multiple luxurious experiences?” To accomplish this, Eliav pushed the limits by creating a hot air balloon experience with luxurious elements and another extraordinary experience, seeing Mount Rainer, which is another big experience that many want to have in Seattle.
Eliav quickly realized that whenever you share a picture of a hot air balloon, everyone will share and comment on it. It’s truly a view that no one else can get, which is why Eliav treats his hot air balloon business as both an influencer brand and a business. His business acts as an influencer itself because people are so captivated by his content and the opportunity to have this unbelievable experience.
Business Meets Influencer
Hot air balloons are a unique niche that gives Eliav the opportunity to act as both a business and an influencer himself. He quickly reached 120,000 views organically on Facebook after sharing hot air balloon content. Most of the traffic to his website is organic, and he can act as an influencer.
A massive benefit of this is that other companies want to work with him. For example, Eliav was sent free products from Canada Goose when he had only 500 followers because they said he had their exact target audience. He’s also received free coffee makers and food, like yogurt, from vendors who are happy to provide his passengers with free food to market their own businesses.
Why Use Influencer Marketing?
“Everything comes down to content.”
Good content will bring people in, which Eliav has noticed with his brand’s content. He’s gained over 900,000 views on TikTok from one post that went viral on his account. This was likely due to the unique topic – saving some rafters whose raft had broken done. He picked them up on his hot air balloon and shared the experience on TikTok.
The lesson? Organic, authentic content will draw people to your social media and keep them interested.
As a business owner, he also knows his value and the quality of the service he provides and won’t hand out free rides to any influencer who asks because his time and the space on his rides are valuable. He considers the following criteria if an influencer reaches out to him about a free hot air balloon ride.
Eliav’s criteria when looking at influencers:
- Does an influencer have enough influence locally or with people who travel to be worthwhile in marketing his hot air balloon service? Having an influencer with significant influence in New York won’t be valuable to his Seattle-based business unless the influencer’s audience is big on traveling.
- Do they have a blog with a high domain score to backlink his website for more organic traffic? Backlinking his website boosts his reach and reputation with Google and other search engines.
- Is their engagement rate high enough to be worth it? 11% to 13% is what Eliav has on his page, so if an influencer doesn’t have at least an 8% engagement rate, then it’s not worth it to him.
How to Get the Most From Influencer Marketing
When working with influencers, Eliav requires influencers to do an actual Instagram post and blog post rather than an Instagram story to have longevity. Otherwise, he gives too much value back to the influencer and doesn’t get much back in return.
For Eliav, the niche doesn’t matter much. He doesn’t care if the influencer wants to do a makeup tutorial in his air balloon, a fashion show, or make travel recommendations to their following. It’s more about the engagement rate, blog, and value he’ll receive. He also doesn’t care what social media the influencer is posting on because he knows they know their audience best.
He advises against only caring about follower count. It’s more important to him to reach a specific audience, especially when an influencer has truly unique or even weird topics, which will stand out among a large amount of white noise on social media platforms. If you have a brand or company that appeals to many people like Eliav, the niche of an influencer is less important than the type of content you’re getting in return.
Another thing Eliav does is help influencers with their blog articles. Eliav has a marketing background and will offer to help write the backbone of the article with SEO-rich terminology. If an influencer wants to write it on their own, he may review it later and suggest a few SEO terms to be added to help his campaign’s longevity. Many influencers are great at generating reach with their audience but don’t have the SEO background or longevity focus that business owners should have. So, consider the long-term value and how you can help influencers create content that is evergreen for your business.
Can your company function as an influencer online? Can you bring the brands or influencers to you? Consider if your product has that fun element, like hot air balloons or high-end, luxury goods that are appealing to the eye. This can make your company into its own influencer marketing team.
Can you create a product or service that appeals to influencers so much that they will pay to use your service? For example, some influencers will pay to sit in a private jet for photos. While Eliav doesn’t charge influencers to go on a hot air balloon ride, he will ask for specific social media content in exchange for the free ride. Think about ways your product or service can appeal to influencers to the point where they may exchange their social media services for your product or service.
Don’t forget the value you bring. As Eliav noted, he doesn’t care about getting a quick Instagram story for a free ride with his service. It’s a spot he would have filled anyways because his company is easily booked up a month out. He’s not going to work with people who won’t bring value to his company, especially when they’re asking for a free ride from him.
We leave you with this: Is the value exchanged even between the company and influencer?